Saturday, 26 January 2008

One down...

On Tuesday my body will be free of Zopiclone.
It's a nasty psychotropic, hypnotic little bugger. A sleeping pill that, in my case, eventually stopped working and actually kept me awake, because once the body gets used to benzos, it inevitably wants more of them, leading to agitation of the central nervous system and alteration of brain functioning.

Since starting to reduce it, I have found my mental capacity to be much improved. I think it's called clarity. Something I haven't felt in a long time. Of course, as I progress through my whole withdrawal schedule (I eventually want to be off all my medication) I may find that clarity proves too much at times. But I still want to be at least off the addictive stuff. The drugs that are screwing up my hormones, making me depressed, lethargic and 'emotionally random'. Sedated, unenthusiastic and dazed. Paranoid, intensely self-absorbed and, well, boring.

I am coming off Zopiclone by using an equivalent dose of Valium. It's never a good idea to 'cold turkey' (or stop suddenly) any drug, and this way I cushion the fall. Then, once I'm off Zopiclone, a long and slow Valium taper begins. My only withdrawal effects so far have been vivid nightmares, which I combat using relaxing music or meditation at bedtime, and gastro disturbances...though I have been partial to sprouts since the festive period, and my sprout consumption has continued unabated into January. In truth, my appetite isn't great, but I'm making sure I eat three meals a day, at regular times. I feel that the experience of severe malnutrition will serve me well in the looking-after-myself stakes in weeks and months to come.

And when I think that in a year I should be benzo free, I feel very happy. Of all my medication, these two drugs have proved the most damaging in my case. Of course, there may be people taking either of these drugs who may need them at the moment, but I don't recommend them for longterm use.

I'm not going to go on at length, and will post only one medication-related post a month, but having researched and prepared for a sound taper plan I can only recommend that anyone unhappy with their medication combo seeks advice.

My withdrawal is being supervised by my mental health team, a psychotherapist, and the excellent and very skilled people at
I don't recommend going cold turkey with any medication. Working out a 'slow but sure' taper plan is the best way forward. So far, I feel very positive.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

It's Been's been

A really eventful year, recorded in a most haphazard fashion and brought to you with the aid of photographs and much wittering.

This year will be equally eventful. Because life is full of events. I can never understand people who say "Nothing much" when you ask them what they've been up to. Perhaps they are just being polite, thinking that I do bugger all because I'm ill. Or perhaps they think "Nosy cow, sod off".

Anyway, I long to get my camera out and go and find some snowdrops or something. Anything. At least now I have wheels my scope is somewhat widened

A scooter is parked in my outhouse. Delivered yesterday, secondhand and seemingly in good enough nick to carry me about. Today the men who delivered the shed for all the garden stuff that used to be in the outhouse put the component parts of said shed up against... the outhouse door. So now I can't get to the scooter. Laugh? Yes, I did. Anyway, I've got another kerb to lower before I can feel the wind on my face.

The picture is from last summer. It means a lot to me. Plus I miss blue skies. Bollocks to January.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Who would have thought it

It is the eve of the first birthday of my blog and I had planned to write something momentous, as befits the occasion. But, and I think this sums up blogging nicely, I have just received a comment on an earlier post:

Seahorse: Thanks for making me laugh today - but can I say that you've got me worried that those melons might still be sitting forgotten in the piano stool...

Thank you anonymous. On reading your comment I went and checked and guess what? There are indeed two melons still hidden in my piano stool. They are keeping quite nicely considering they've spent three weeks in total darkness. In fact, I would even be so bold as to suggest that piano stools are an ideal place for storing melons.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Ups and Downs

Life continues to be quite eventful. In the past week I have:

  • Received money from the social fund to carry out alterations to my storage space to house a wheelchair/scooter.
  • Nearly bought a scooter, only to be told by a mechanic at the 11th hour that what seemed like a bargain was in fact, well, quite possibly not. Beware machines with hard-to-obtain parts.
  • Looked around at other advocate now reckons it is legitimate for me to apply to the social fund for the money for one. This in my book is a massive indictment of NHS care. But needs must.
  • Had my home support service cancelled. Why? Because I now have a PA. I was told 'the Government won't pay twice'. Wrong. One package is part of my NHS careplan, the other is social services provision, of sorts. Formal complaint number three now in operation.
  • Spent a lot of time resting, tired of writing letters.
  • Devised and had approved my withdrawal schedule. Prescription next week.
  • Started with a new therapist. Am feeling a bit tired of dwelling on how shit everything is so next week I will be suggesting to him that we pretend my life is totally fantastic. Just to give me a break. I will be discussing my recent winter holiday in Mauritius and the several nights out on the piss I've just enjoyed. Fuck all this complex grief traumatic manic reaction stress syndrome bollocks.
So, as you can tell I've really enjoyed this week. Still, money for alterations is good. A shed has been duly ordered so I can have the outhouse for scooter storage. My son is over the moon as he equates sheds with happiness. Our old, old house (the one before last) had a shed. Those were the days before all the complex traumatic and so on. I see a shed not as a retrograde step so much as a restitution of a symbol of contentment. May we both spend many happy hours pottering in there. It will not, as my son has requested, be painted in army camouflage green. I don't care if his friend's shed is. This is a shed for the housing of gardening equipment and a potting bench, not machine guns and grenades. Peace.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Thy Will Be Done

On the eve of my long-awaited consultation to discuss withdrawal from some of my atrocious psychiatric meds, this song has come from nowhere and been playing over and over in my head.

And watching the clip, I think I understand why. Sometimes you just have to pray. And it is a very beautiful, soothing and peaceful song. I hope it stays in my head a while longer.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


Horrible horrible horrible. Thought at one point today I was going to die. But my son has made a full recovery and ate everything my sister put in front of him this evening, whilst I was upstairs throwing up.

She had it over Christmas so I'm fortunate she felt able to come near the house and help out. The advice, for anyone just coming down with it or fearing they may, is to eat little bits of plain stuff here and there and drink constant sips of water (and in my case diarolyte). If you glug too much at once it just comes back up again. Little sips has miraculously seen me polish off my required standard 2 litres of water today.

Trouble is, every time a mere whiff of cracker has reached my nose I've been back in the bathroom. Supposed to be mainlining natural yoghurt to help my 'vulnerable gut' as the GP described my post-antibiotic state today. But I can't face it. Maybe tomorrow. Off to wash my night meds down with dioralyte now. F*****g bitch virus from hell. And many other choice curses.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Bloody Nora!

I thought we'd escaped. How wrong I was. This evening my son suddenly projectile vomited on the rug and in the course of a mere couple of hours has been ferociously set upon by The Norovirus.

Of course being a self-centred neurotic, once I'd got him sorted with water, Calpol, bed and sick bucket my mind turned to the awful prospect of me getting it. Post wisdom tooth infection, weakened, half-mad (well okay, fully insane) with hormonal trouble, a very heavy period and now the prospect of being really very ill indeed.

So yes, hands up. I'm terrified. I don't think there's anything those with lowered immunity can do but pray. And cover themselves in anti-bacterial spray.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


I wrote something about not twisting my melon the other day. So imagine my surprise when I happened upon two melons languishing in my vegetable rack this morning. Yes, yes, I know they are strictly fruit but have you ever seen a fruit rack? Actually, come to think of it, why are there no fruit racks in the world? Who says that only vegetables deserve the status of a rack (complete with wheels thus facilitating their convenient transportation around the kitchen) whereas fruit is destined only to go mouldy in a mere bowl due to lack of adequate air circulation?

So there were these two melons in my vegetable rack and I swear that for a while I had no idea how they had got there. I stood in the kitchen really quite perplexed as they stared back at me defiantly, glaring in yellow indignation at their apparent neglect. And then I remembered. When my new and excellently efficient PA popped to the shops last week for me I asked for said melons. Well one, actually but they were on offer, so I got a pair. Then I forgot about them, probably in part because I am still taking preposterously large antibiotics for my wisdom tooth infection.

I am as yet unversed in PA etiquette. As I stood staring at the melons in the kitchen, slowly making the PA link in my mind, I started to panic. I remembered suddenly it was Thursday again and she was therefore going to arrive very soon.

"Melons. How? PA! Melons! Thursday! PA!"

Is kind of how it went.

I am ashamed to confess I hid the melons in the piano stool as it was the closest thing to hand with a secret compartment. I was worried she'd be offended that we hadn't eaten them. I was scared she'd think I had just conjured them up on a whim as something to buy without there truly being a need for them (after all, people don't strictly need melons... but as they are heavy it could be argued they do need a PA to purchase them and bring them home). But not eating them...well I obviously broke the rules.

To think of it! Letting my son scoff a mountain of Christmas chocolate when all the time there were two far healthier options forgotten and buried under cauliflower and broccoli, also uneaten this week owing to large quantities of leftovers. Oh the shame. Dreadful fruit and vegetable management, made all the more confusing by the addition of someone who was just trying to help.

The melons have indeed twisted my melon, man.

Oh Dear

A cat in the (and I truly mean this) expert care of my sister has died whilst the owners were away. How very ungrateful of it. I don't have all the details, just a fraught text saying she's about to have to tell them. She is a professional cat sitter. What a nightmare.

Update: The cat was run over. The owners are abroad and can't be contacted but their daughter was telephoned and received the unfortunate news. She is travelling up from London tomorrow to identify the body. Just to make sure. Don't want to get the wrong cat after all. Pause for thought. That's nearly 200 miles.

I do wonder whether an email correspondence would have been more convenient. Or would emailing a picture be too much...I suppose even taking a picture would be a tad distressing. It does seem an awfully long way to travel just for a cat though, and a dead one at that.

I speak as a cat lover, who has buried two cats. And I suppose 'there's the rub'. You can't exactly not bury a dead cat, especially if you are a professional cat sitter. That wouldn't be very professional. And if, as the daughter of the cat's owners, your parents are away and it needs formal identification I suppose it would fall to you to identify it. As the cat sitter you can't, in the absence of the owners, house it at a vet's mortuary, running up huge and hugely unnecessary bills. And you can't just shove it out in the back garden, or hide it somewhere safe... even if temperatures are sub-zero and it would 'keep' quite nicely until their return. No, that wouldn't work because then you'd have to explain the rigor mortis. To die, to sleep...perchance to dream. Hopefully of mice, poor thing.